Wrap Up Of 2015 Touring: Say It Isn’t So

November 6, 2015 (3 weeks ago)

The 97’s have wrapped up their touring for 2015.
I know, HOW CAN THIS BE, RIGHT??!? No New Year’s Eve show?!? No Christmas run in Dallas?!? Ken has hinted there might be a small show near Tyler, but other than that, NADA until Todos Santos, Mexico in January
Commence post-tour depression.
It’s been a fantastic run through the midwest and east coast. I can personally attest to the epic face-melting, Rock God performances in DC, Philly and Cleveland.

King of all of his World. Pre-Time Bomb jump exhuberance courtesy of Vivian Wang

Long-time fan and concert photographer extraordinaire, Vivian Wang shares her thoughts about the DC show here.

Rhett enjoying himself on the 9:30 stage. Courtesy of Vivian Want



Murry at 9:30 Club courtesy of Vivian Wang



another gravity-defying rock jump. courtesy of Vivian Wang

Not being hip-swivel deep in support of any particular album, the setlists have been a satisfying cross-catalogue assortment of old (Jagged, Valentine, Barrier) and new (Give it Time, Nashville, Guadalajara) favorites with a handful of rarities like Old Familiar Steam, Going Going Gone, and a very spirited Bel Air (YESSS!!) as a nod to their former label, Bloodshot Records’ 20th anniversary.

The unmitigated joy of being a rock star. courtesy of Kristie Gripp



Murry doing his thing. courtesy of Kristie Gripp



Whistling Boy courtesy of Kristie Gripp



The Tele Master courtesy of Kristie Gripp




He’s dressed all in… green. courtesy of Kristie Gripp

In addition to the above, the band busted out Rhett’s ode to author Raymond Carver, the rumba rocker What We Talk About on the later part of the tour. What a special treat! The song was first featured at the soundcheck in Cleveland before being included on the show’s setlist. Fantastic!!

Speaking of sound checks, Ken jumped on Periscope, Twitter’s live streaming app. Through Periscope, Ken gave followers a glimpse backstage during soundcheck. He took requests from fans, some of which made their way on to the night’s setlist like Am I Too Late. Sometimes he gave tours of the venue, the city and pulled the curtain back on bus life with a bunch of dudes. Make sure you download Periscope so you don’t miss any of the fun when touring starts again. The videos on Periscope are only available for 24 hours, so set up your alerts!

Soundcheck via Periscope



The requests poured in. Ivy won this draw.



Ken does make it look easy.

And lastly, one of the high points for all involved, especially the 97′s, was when legendary Cheap Trick dummer, Bun E. Carlos joined the guys on stage at the Majestic Theater in Madison, Wisconsin to put his personal stamp on a rowdy cover of Southern Girls. Philip may have to retire his kit now.
Bun E. Carlos on Philip's kit!!

Bun E. Carlos on Philip’s kit!!

Philip with Bun E. Carlos

Philip with Bun E. Carlos


impromptu jump during Southern Girls with Bun E. Carlos on the kit! courtesy of Kristie Gripp

Before embarking on the fall tour, Rhett spoke to Jonathan Dick at Brooklyn Vegan about longevity, technology and songwriting here.
Here’s a fun, informative interview with Jessie Opoien of the Capital Times in Madison with the frontman of our favorite “big, dumb rock band”.
Review, setlist and photos from Thalia Hall in Chicago here.
Rhett performed a five-song set at for the Isthmus Sessions in Madison, Wisconsin prior to the show.
And finally, our friends at Paste Magazine took on the daunting task of choosing 12 best Old 97′s songs. With such a vast oeuvre of incredible songs, who can possibly whittle it down to a mere dozen. It’s a fine list, but no Jagged? No St. Ignatius? No BEL AIR?!? Really? Check it out and let us know which other ones are on your How-Could-He-Leave-Out-This-Song list.
That’s it for now. Keep checking the tour dates for any additional gigs before January. In the meantime, you can catch Rhett play a number of solo shows between now and the end of the year, including Live at Daryl’s House in Pawling, NY; Christmas Extravaganza Trifecta at City Winery, NY, Chicago and Nashville; and the annual CF benefit concert held this year at a new venue, Gas Monkey Bar and Grill.
Hey, and just for grins here’s a Magnet Magazine Classic of Old 97’s circa: Too Far To Care.
But wait, there’s more! Anyone who has had the pleasure to speak with Ken, knows he is a superb storyteller. Recently he was one of the featured storytellers at Oral Fixation in which he tells of his journey from office grunt to rockstar.
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***Many thanks to Kristie Gripp and Vivian Wang for the use of their photos. View all of Kristie’s Old 97’s photos on her flickr page.

Instagram contest

September 17, 2015

We’ve got some cool merch piling up around here, so let’s see what we can do about that, eh? Let’s have a contest! Here’s how it works.

  1. Follow us on Instagram.
  2. Go to an Old 97’s show on the Fall Tour.
  3. Take a picture at the show and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #old97s2015 and tag @old97s in it

Everyone picture posted is an entry into a random drawing. We’ll do one Oct 1 and another Nov 1.

Have fun!

Hey y’all this is Jefe, Old 97’s web guy, breaking the 4th wall for a minute. In case you haven’t heard, I’m spearheading the creation of an album of Old 97’s covers to benefit It’s currently being funded on PledgeMusic and we have to hit 100% in the next 2 months for it to happen.

The minimum pledge is $10 for an Access Pass, which gets you the full digital download when it’s ready, along with access to behind-the-scenes studio info as it happens, and maybe an exclusive track or two as well.

The album is a benefit for charity: water, an amazing non-profit organization that’s working to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Check them out:

Desperate Times will feature Old 97’s songs performed by some amazing artists, including:

Hayes Carll

Ben Kweller

Polyphonic Spree

Kelly Willis (Rollerskate Skinny!)

Monte Warden (The Wagoneers) & Chip Kinman (Rank & File)


Those Darlins

The Deathray Davies (Valentine!)

Occasional Milkshake

The Travoltas

The O’s

Western Star

…and maybe even more when it’s all said and done. It’s going to be mixed by John Dufhilo and will be ready to press before the end of the year.

We’re currently revealing what songs are being covered one at a time, in posts only visible to pledgers. Number three comes out today.

I hope you’re join us for this very cool project. Please, tell your friends, share on your socials, and check back often as we work to make a difference—and make a really cool album, too.

After lighting up the midwest on a successful short Old 97’s run, Rhett continued his tour in support of his stellar MMU companion solo effort, The Traveler.


Starting briefly in his beloved Texas, the bulk of his latest run was a jaunt from Seattle to Hermosa Beach, accompanied by the lovely, angelic-voiced Annalisa Tornfelt. She joined Rhett on stage for a handful of songs from The Traveler, as well as Old 97’s tunes. Her virtuosity and backing vocals brought to life the tracks from the new album, and added a new layer to old classics.


Along the way, our favorite frontman did a fair number of interviews, radio stops, and podcasts. Here are a few highlights starting with Texas.
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Rhett commandeered the airwaves of Austin’s My KUTX for an hour to share a dozen of his favorite songs.

KXT’s Paul Slavens and Rhett

He stopped by KXT Live Sessions to chat up, reminisce and perform a couple of songs for old friend and Travoltas member, Paul Slavens. Rising star Madison King joined in to sing her sweet duet she wrote with Rhett, Feel Like Falling In Love.
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Madison King and Rhett at KXT

Before heading to the West Coast, Mr. Miller hooked up with The Ticket’s zany morning team, Bob and Dave at Eatzi’s in Grapevine to perpetrate a little BaD shenanigans on unsuspecting female customers. Hilarity ensues. But seriously, what girl WOULDN’T want the lead singer of Old 97’s to make up a song featuring her name, no matter how ridiculous? Zero.
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roaming the market without a hall pass

In Portland, our wordsmith wowed the collective gathered in the intimate studios of Kink FM’s Skype studios with spirited performances of new songs, old songs and insight into his collaboration with local favorites, Black Prairie. Video of the interview and performance are here, here, here, here, here and here.
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Rhett at KINK FM Skype Studios in Portland

In LA, KCSN host Sky Daniels and Rhett discuss all-things The Traveler and then some. Among “then some” is an interesting discussion concerning the Texas meaning of ordering a “coke”. Annalisa Tornfelt joins in on fiddle and backing vocals, kicking it up a notch on Wanderlust.
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with Annalisa Tornfelt (photo courtesy of Laura Smith)

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photo courtesy of Laura Smith

But wait! There’s more…
Despite two glaring mistakes in the headline, Chilled Magazine published a fun interview with Rhett. Curious how he spends downtime, his favorite foods or which libations are stocked in his poolside Tiki bar (he has a Tiki bar??!?), read on.
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How do you feel about Michael Bublé? Do you hate his voice, song-stylings or that stupid accent mark on the é? Well, read why Rhett takes issue with the Canadian crooner in A.V. Club’s Hatesong feature here.
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photo courtesy of Laura Smith

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Jon Neufeld and Rhett

Recorded shortly after The Traveler’s release, Rhett made his home turf one of the first stops on his presser rounds. Here he is at Woodstock Radio.

On a sunny afternoon in the Boston area, Joan Holliday of The River and Mr. Miller discuss Peter Buck, reincarnation and lay bare his psyche on my new favorite game, Either/Or.
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Judy Holliday of the River and Rhett basking in the New England sun

The Master of the Interview, Rhett gets comfortable and opens up to The Alt in Our Stars podcast host, Chris Payne about a number of topics including a tale or two about Third Eye Blind. The entire hour makes for an exceedingly entertaining conversation.
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photo courtesy of Laura Smith

And finally, if you haven’t done so already, do yourself a favor and check out One Week, One Band. Guest author, Daniel Couch wrote an extensive 24-part series of posts mined from multiple sources, including this very website.
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The Hardest Working Rocker in the biz is on a well-deserved family vacation. But never fear, he will be out and about again this week at the sold out Barefoot at the Belmont and a July 4th band gig at the Twilite Lounge. Then our favorite foursome embark on a long-awaited European mini tour.
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photo courtesy of Laura Smith

Thank Jehovah he loves what he does. I think I can safely speak for us all when I say we love what he does, too.
See you on the road!!

We’ll be adding these to the event calendar over the next day or so, but in the meantime here’s a complete list of upcoming shows:

July 9 – Valencia, Spain – LOCO CLUB
July 10 – Riaza, Spain – HUERCASA FESTIVAL
July 12 – London, UK – The Borderline
July 14 – Bilbao, Spain – CAFE ANTZOKIA
July 18 – New Braunfels, TX – WhiteWater Amphitheater

August 8 – San Antonio, TX – Lone Star Beer TX Heritage Series – Lone Star Brewery
August 15 – Houston, TX – Lone Star Beer TX Heritage Series – Silver Street Studios
August 22 – Dallas, TX – Lone Star Beer TX Heritage Series – Gilley’s
August 29 – Austin, TX – Lone Star Beer TX Heritage Series – Fair Market

September 10 – Boulder, CO – Fox Theater
September 11 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
September 12 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory Concert House
September 13 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox
September 14 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
September 16 – Arcata, CA – Humboldt Brews
September 17 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
September 18 – West Hollywood, CA – The Troubadour
September 19 – Del Mar, CA – KAABOO
September 20 – Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom
September 21 – Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
September 23 – Amarillo, TX – Golden Light Cantina
September 24 – Tahlequah, OK – Medicine Stone Festival

October 3 – Dallas, TX – Lake Highlands Oktoberfest
October 15 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West @ King Plow Arts Center
October 16 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
October 17 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
October 19 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
October 20 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl
October 21 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl
October 22 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
October 23 – Ithaca, NY – The Haunt
October 24 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom & Tavern
October 26 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
October 27 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre
October 28 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
October 29 – St Louis, MO – The Ready Room
October 30 – Little Rock, AR – Revolution Music Room

We have our winners!

Thanks everyone who participated, nominated, voted, and most of all, you brave souls that posted your cover performances into the harsh spotlight of anonymous internet critique.

Once again, we were blown away by all of the cool videos you posted.

Winners were selected by YouTube “likes” — not total all-time, but from the day the contest started. Which makes the winners:

1. If & When Rollerskate Skinny

2. Mr. Barton’s DaughterQuestion

3. Hannah Rose MurphyBusted Afternoon

Winners, please email Jefe your address so he can get your prizes shipped! noreplyold97s @ All nominees should do the same!

In Rhett’s own words:

In late January of 2014, I entered Portland, Oregon’s legendary Jackpot Studios accompanied by my friends in the band Black Prairie. John, Jon, Jenny, Nate, Chris, Annalisa and I tracked quickly. Almost everything you hear on The Traveler was recorded live on the floor of Jackpot during that beautiful week. The great Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey came in later and helped out with a few overdubs and that was pretty much it.
My favorite thing about music is the friendship it engenders. And the best way to make music is to get some friends together in a room and roll tape. That’s how The Traveler came to be. I’m so grateful to Black Prairie for all the fun we had making The Traveler.

Thanks for listening. Please enjoy.

-Rhett Miller

Track List

1. Wanderlust
2. Jules
3. Most in the Summertime
4. My Little Disaster
5. Fair Enough
6. Kiss Me On The Fire Escape
7. Lucky Star
8. Escape Velocity
9. Dreams vs. Waking Life
10. Wicked things
11. Good Night
12. Reasons to Live


CD >



Wheels Off: The Rhett Miller Show
with Murry Hammond, Jen Kirkman, & Very Special Guests!
Friday, March 6, 2015
Doors: 7:00 PM / Show: 8:00 PM



Wheels Off: The Rhett Miller Show is a variety show featuring Rhett Miller and his all-star friends. Modeled after an old-school variety show, Wheels Off will feature music, comedy, a little bit of discussion, and maybe even a skit here and there. Past shows have included guests, Jon Brion, Rob Delaney, Ryan Miller, Joey Santiago (Pixies), Rami Jaffee, Jenny O, Jen Kirkman, James Adomian & many others. Always a blast so come on down!

Tickets are $30 and available ONLINE ONLY.

Seat assignments begin at 6:00PM, Doors open for drinks at 7:00PM, Showtime at 8:00PM | When you arrive at Will Call on the night of the show, seats will be assigned first come first served, from the front of the theatre to the back. If you want to sit closer, be sure to come earlier.